Ireland: Beauty and the Beast!

   When you look at Ireland you will no doubt see beauty: beauty in its landscape and beauty in its cultural heritage, but beneath this beauty the country is spiritually dead. For the most part, the country has abandoned their Christian heritage and has become a secular society. But where there is crisis, there is also opportunity. The gospel still brings life and transformation, which is why I am excited about doing ministry in Ireland. The aim of my most recent trip was to meet with other ministry leaders working in Ireland to establish a coalition and develop a strategy for reaching all of Ireland and to also do a Four Fields Church Planting training, in Kilkeel, Co. Down, in preparation for our team that will be there in May.
     Andrew Clements, our e3 National Director, and I met with Ireland ministry leaders from the International Mission Board and Missionaries from Greater European Missions in Dublin. We discussed the many challenges of doing ministry in Ireland, but, again, also the great opportunity for the gospel to advance and each ministry agreed that we could accomplish more together. We will be meeting once a month via video conference to discuss the progress of our strategy in reaching the entire island. This is extremely encouraging, as each ministry brings different strengths to the table. Our training in Kilkeel also went well.  As with every training, we spent time in the harvest, going door to door praying for the community and looking for opportunities to share that gospel and people interested in studying the Bible. We had several opportunities to share the gospel and a couple of homes that were interested in the possibility of opening up their home for a Bible Study.  Both initiatives were accomplished and I continue to learn a lot about doing ministry in Ireland.
     Doing missions can sometimes sound like quite the adventure, and it is for the most part, but with every adventure there is a lot of planning and logistical work. We have to figure out flights for our team members coming from all over the US, public transportation in country, figure out meals/restaurants, find hotels or different kinds of lodging in preparation to bring teams in. Then there is also the occasional mishap. For example, on this particular trip, while taking the bus from N. Ireland back to Dublin on my last day, I left my phone on the bus. But praise God, the phone was turned into the office, however, I will not be able to collect it until we return in May. One month without a phone, can anyone survive? We shall see!  - Tony

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